HILO — The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has removed hundreds of abandoned vehicles from agricultural homestead lots in Hawaii County, officials said.
The department removed 382 abandoned vehicles and about 700 tires from Makuu in the Puna District, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Saturday.
The cars were removed from three homestead lots and an additional lot on the Big Island, the department said.
An investigation started in February included an assessment by the state Department of Health and resulted in citations for unpermitted structures and abandoned vehicles along with trespass notices issued to unauthorized campers, officials said.
A gate was installed last week to restrict access during the vehicle and tire removals and will remain in place until the land has been restored and the lots are scheduled to be offered to Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries.
Abandoned vehicles can pose traffic, safety and environmental hazards and are an eyesore, Hawaiian Home Lands Solid Waste Division Chief Greg Goodale said.
“It was quite an operation to get everything out of there,” Goodale said.
The division’s abandoned vehicle program and Hawaii County Abandoned Vehicle Coordinator Julianna Holzman-Escareno coordinated with state officials to contract towing contractors, Goodale said,
Hawaii County’s abandoned vehicle program typically tows vehicles abandoned on public roadways and has contracts with scrap metal vendors to process and recycle the vehicles, Goodale said.
The area was “messed up so badly by folks that don’t have any consideration for the land” that the cleanup was considered a success for the department and the county, Goodale said.